Creating a More Diverse Teaching Workforce: Lessons for School Districts from Maryland
13 September 2023
Maryland is one of the most diverse states in the nation,1 with a pre-K–12 school system that serves nearly a million students and employs over 60,000 teachers.2 Yet while Maryland’s student population is increasingly diverse, the state’s public schools remain highly segregated—both within and across its twenty-four districts. This racial segregation in education is accompanied by a lack of diversity in Maryland’s teaching workforce.As of 2022, over 70 percent of teachers in Maryland are white, whereas less than 40 percent of its student population is white.3 Comparatively, 18.8 percent of Maryland’s teachers are Black, compared to 33.2 percent of its students; and only 4.2 percent of the state’s teachers are Hispanic/Latino, compared to 21 percent of its students. This lack of diversity among educators works to deepen existing opportunity gaps, experienced disproportionately by low-income communities of color. Research shows that increased teacher diversity fosters cultural competency across faculty, improves students’ academic achievement and self-perception, and increases the likelihood of college enrollment.4 In school systems that lack diversity among educators, such benefits are withheld largely from students of color who, even when composing the majority of the school population, are less likely to see them represented in the classroom or in school leadership.
Jayla Hart is a Pre-K–12 education policy intern at The Century Foundation, with an interest in advancing educational equity and neighborhood integration for marginalized students and their families.